Cover image for Midwinter rites of the Cayuga long house
Midwinter rites of the Cayuga long house
Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950.
Publication Information:
Ohsweken, Ont. : Iroqrafts, 1987.

Physical Description:
viii, 192 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 22 cm.
General Note:
Includes index.

At head of title: William C. Morrow Research and Publication Fund.

Originally published: Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, 1949.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E99.C3 S6 1987C Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
E99.C3 S6 1987C Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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During his last years ethnohistorian Frank G. Speck turned to the study of Iroquois ceremonialism. This 1950 book investigates the religious rites of the Cayuga tribe, one of six in the Iroquois confederation that occupied upstate New York until the American Revolution. In the 1930s and the 1940s Frank Speck observed the Midwinter Ceremony, the Cayuga thanksgiving for the blessings of life and health, performed in long houses on the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario. Collaborating with Alexander General (Deská heh), the noted Cayuga chief, Speck describes vividly the rites and dances giving thanks to all spiritual entities. Of special interest are the medicine societies that not only prescribed herbs but used powerfully evocative masks in treating the underlying causes of sickness. In a new introduction, William N. Fenton discusses Speck's distinguished career.

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Bison Book Edition: Frank G. Speck: American Ethnologist (1881-1950)p. v
References Citedp. x
Introductionp. 1
Phonetic Notep. 10
Part 1 Religious Framework of Cayuga Culturep. 13
I The Sour Springs Long Housep. 15
II Complementary Dual Functioning Of The Moieties and Sex Divisions In Cayuga Ceremonial-Social Organizationp. 20
III Controlling Spirit Forcesp. 29
V Ceremonial Officiaries, Foods Instruments, and Costumesp. 39
Part 2 The Midwinter Ceremonyp. 47
VI Timing and Preparatory Rites of The Midwinter Ceremonyp. 49
VII The Medicine Societiesp. 56
VIII The Restricted Medicine Societies And Their Ritesp. 64
IX The Unrestricted Societies; Curing Rites and Dancesp. 115
X The Four Sacred Ceremonial Ritesp. 127
XI Worship Rites Addressed to Food Spiritsp. 147
XII Social Dancesp. 149
XIII Family Condolence Rite of The Sour Springs Bandp. 159
Final Thoughts and Comments In Retrospectp. 164
Appendix I

p. 174

Appendix II

p. 185

Indexp. 189